May 16, 2010
Long Beach, Calif. - Five Titans had two hits apiece and Corey Jones had 2 RBI as Cal State Fullerton completed a Big West Conference series sweep of Long Beach State by a score of 6-4 Sunday afternoon at Blair Field and secured a spot in the postseason in the process.
With the Titan win, and an Irvine loss to UC Santa Barbara on Sunday, Cal State Fullerton (34-14, 18-3) clinches at least a share of the Big West Championship and will earn the automatic berth to the 2010 NCAA postseason by virtue of the series win- tie-breaker over second-place Irvine back in April.
The Titans earn at least a share of their 24th Div. I conference championship. With just 1 win against Cal State Northridge (May 28-30) or 1 Irvine conference loss the rest of the way, the Titans will win the Big West outright.
Long Beach State drops to 22-26 overall and 7-11 in league play.
The Titans will be making their 32nd postseason appearance in 36 years at the Div. I level and their 19th straight. The 19 consecutive years in the NCAA tournament is the third-longest active streak in the nation behind Miami (37 years) and Florida State (32 years).
Fullerton starter Dylan Floro (5-0) picked up his third straight win in as many starts with a 6 2/3-inning, 6-strikeout effort. The right-hander allowed 2 earned runs in the fifth inning and scattered eight hits.
Loser Matt Pinder dropped to 4-6 on the year after giving up six runs over 6 2/3. He walked 3 and struck out 3.
The Fullerton offense handed starter Floro a 4-0 lead with a run in each of the first 4 innings before being set down in order for the first time in the top of the fifth.
Gary Brown legged out a single with one out in the first, stole second and came around to score on Carlos Lopez' RBI-single to right to take the quick 1-0 lead. A Corey Jones triple and a Casey Watkins sacrifice fly quickly put them ahead 2-0 in the second.
Some heads-up base running by designated hitter Tyler Pill, aboard on a single, set up the third Fullerton run. With one out, Pill tagged up from first on a deep fly ball to left off the bat of Nick Ramirez. Billy Marcoe promptly drove home Pill from second with a sharp single to left increasing their lead to 3-0.
The Titans put up their fourth unanswered run in the top of the fourth as Watkins singled, was bunted to second by Richie Pedroza and then scored on Christian Colon's knock to center. Colon was subsequently tagged out in a run down with an overly-aggressive turn at first.
Long Beach broke through for a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, ending Floro's unearned run streak at 22 1/3 innings. Kirk Singer doubled into the left field corner and was sac'd to third by Derek Legg. Catcher Joel Thys ended Floro's streak with a single that dropped in front of Lopez in right and then scored as Jordan Casas tripled to right. After a visit to the mound by Dave Serrano, Floro settled down to induce a ground-out to second by Matt Duffy.
Fullerton got its 2 runs back in the top of the seventh with a two-out walk by Pinder to Ramirez followed by a single by Billy Marcoe. That put a pair of runners on for Jones, who greeted reliever Cris Trout with a bases-clearing double to right.
Colin O'Connell got the last out of the seventh for Floro, and was replaced with Ramirez to close out the game. Long Beach struck for a run in the bottom of the eighth off the lefthander, on consecutive hits by Casas (double) and Duffy (RBI-single).
Long Beach got to Ramirez in the bottom of the ninth for a run on 2 hits and a hit batter, but a line hard line drive right at Pedroza at third ended it, securing the sweep of the 49ers.
Brown, Lopez, Marcoe Jones and Watkins each had two hits on the afternoon for the Titans. Jonathan Jones, T.J. Mittlestaedt, Steve Tinocoand Legg had a pair for the 49ers.
The Titans will be back in action on Tuesday night at home against LMU. There Fullerton will begin an 8-game home stand to end the regular season.